Sunset Over Manhattan

Blog Post

Coaching via Video Conferencing by Rachel Hott, PhD

I was recently asked to be in a research study about the use of technology, in particular, using video conferencing when coaching. This invitation has got me thinking about my experience of the past three years using Skype and FaceTime with clients. Video conferencing (VC) has become a common way for coaches and clients to work together. What happened before VC? We have gone from the client lying on a couch in the psychoanalyst’s office, to sitting upright with the therapist (still in the office), to being on a computer screen anywhere in the world. Most of my psychotherapy experience, both as client and psychologist, has been sitting in an office facing my therapist, or client. Early on in my career I had phone sessions with clients. Many of the coaches coming to study with us, have been trained to do phone sessions. Now with VC, we can hear and see. The concerns regarding working this way include both the technical difficulties, as well as the lack of “connection” with the client. I have also been worried if there was an emergency during the session and the client was on the other side of the earth. How would I be able to assist them during this emergency? To allay my concerns, I have required that VC clients give me their home address, and the name and phone number of an emergency contact in their area. Here are a few things that have happened during my VC se